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Business Management

Truth in Numbers

Over the last several months, I’ve been making a few calls to my friends in the Triumph motorcycle world.

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Are triumph’s sales figures as good as it says?

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ver the last several months, I’ve been making a few calls to my friends in the Triumph motorcycle world. What prompted these calls was the press release from Triumph North America in February touting some incredible sales figures. They have said that sales for January 2015 were up 66 percent and that in Canada, of all places, sales were up by 379 percent.

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Firstly, let’s think about that: they claim that sales were up an incredible amount for that time period. In the winter. In a winter where everyone in the Northeast had dreaded going outside for weeks on end. I’ve been a Triumph dealer for more than a decade, and I can tell you that sales in my area are not up by 66 percent. No one I know anywhere in the U.S. is up that much.

Full disclosure: MPN had a long term “loaner” of this Triumph Commander last year because someone forgot about it. It has since been returned.  Photo by Joe Bonnello.

Full disclosure: MPN had a long term “loaner” of this Triumph Commander last year because someone forgot about it. It has since been returned. Photo by Joe Bonnello.

I also called a couple of my friends in Canada, and they were all having a good belly laugh over the 379 percent increase in a winter where there’s been more snow than many of them have seen in their lifetimes. These are the same weather patterns that New England has been experiencing in those long, dark months.

So how is this possible? Well, it seems that everyone I talk to believes that Triumph’s sales figures are either wholesale numbers, or a combination of wholesale and retail figures. I heard from one dealer that he had 18 months’ supply of new Triumphs, and Triumph threatened to terminate him if he didn’t order another year’s worth of motorcycles.

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And if they did terminate him, they said they’d leave all of the existing units with him, whereby he’d have to pay them all out. I was doubtful, naïve that I am, but he maintains his story. And I believe that his order for this extra year’s worth of units will have accounted, in Triumph’s books, for a huge increase in sales from that dealership.

Triumph seems to have taken the tack that it will count ALL sales in its count of units. How else to account for this massive increase in sales, in its estimation, yet I can find no dealers that can confirm these sales? Could it be that Triumph is fudging its numbers? How do the MIC numbers look? Do they corroborate Triumph numbers? I don’t get them, but I would bet that the MIC figures would not show this massive increase in sales that Triumph alleges. How about it, Triumph? Can you back these numbers up? In retail sales?

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Now, I think Triumph makes a great product: it has had some problems, but it’s making great progress in creating a great brand, and God Bless John Bloor. The world would be a sadder place without Triumph. I fully believe that Triumph will someday be a brand to reckon with. The company is increasing its sales every year (Just not by 66 percent!). Triumph has stumbled over the last few years, but I truly believe that it can come to the world motorcycle party. Just don’t feed us these kind of self-generated stats when it’s obvious to all of us that they’re not true.

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Leave that to the politicians.

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